Foldable devices, which are now in consumers’ hands and even on display here at IFA 2022 in laptops from Lenovo and Asus, might be enjoying their breakout year. If so, we probably have Samsung to thank for it, which has done the lion’s share of work to make folding phones and flexible screens mainstream.
How we got this far and how Samsung’s estimable foldables, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, overcame innumerable design challenges is a tale best told by an insider: someone like Dr. Won-Joon Choi, Executive Vice President, Head of Flagship Product R&D Team & Technology Strategy Team at Mobile eXperience Business, Samsung Electronics, who sat down with me at IFA 2022 in Berlin to spill a whole bunch of Fold design and development secrets.
With foldables, Dr. Choi told me, Samsung hopes, as it did with large-screen phones like the Galaxy Note a decade ago, to reshape the industry. It’s a line, along with belief that foldables are ready to go mainstream, that Samsung likes to repeat to anyone who will listen – but I sense that, with Choi, the sentiment is based less on marketing-speak than it is on hard-won experience.
Building the Z Fold and Z Flips has been “very challenging… there are lots of constraints and challenges that foldables have from our perspective,” said Dr. Cho, who has been with Samsung since 2016 and actually has dual responsibilities of leading flagship R&D and running Samsung’s Technology Strategy Team where he builds strategic relationships with startups and global companies. It’s something that figures significantly in his work to help bring the now three-year-old Foldable business to fruition.